Never knowingly undersolved.

Guardian 24,997 / Paul

Posted by Eileen on April 29th, 2010


A fairly typical Paul puzzle, with  witty, cheeky, story-telling surfaces – but none of his really outrageous cluing. I hope the relatively new solvers whose confidence has been boosted in the last few days will enjoy it, along with those who have been missing something rather more meaty.


8   PROTRUDE: PRO [supporting] +T[arpaulin] + RUDE [filthy]
9,14 SALAD DRESSING: SAL [girl] + ADDRESSING [looking at – as in turning attention to]
10  SCUD: C[ontraband] in SUD [South of France]
11  FANATICISM: anagram of MANIAC FITS: I’m not sure what ‘within such’ is doing.
12  AFGHAN: double definition
15  EXPUNGE: EX [old] + PUN [joke] + G[et] + E[mbarrassing]
17  AEROSOL: A + reversal of SORE [painful] + [c]OL[d]
20  ALLERGEN: R[ight] in ALLEGE [claim] + N[ame]
22  BASKET: ASK [pose] in BET [imagine]
23 EVERYTHING: very cleverly hidden in thE VERY THIN G[irl] – it made me laugh.
24 CASE: double definition
25  SNIPE: double definition
26  CHIT-CHAT: CHIT [note] CHAT [flier]


1 CRUCIFIX: C [about] + reversal of CUR [mongrel] + IF + I + X [cross]. I don’t want to open a theological can of worms but cross and crucifix are not synonymous. A crucifix is specifically and literally [cruci fixus : fixed to the cross] a representation of Christ on the cross.
2,3  STUDMUFFIN: STUD [boss] + MUFFIN: this was a new one on me:  ‘guy that gets the ladies easy’, from the Urban Dictionary.
4   KENNEDY: N[ew] + reversal of DEN [office] inside KEY [important]
5   AS IT WERE: anagram of SWEATIER, with ‘pants’ as the indicator: typical Paul!
6   BLACK SPOTS: B[aker] LACKS POTS [can’t cook!] – lovely!
7   EDISON: ED [Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the Guardian] + IS ON [is working]. Last December, Paul clued Edison as ‘My boss is working to become an inventor’.
13  HOUSE-TRAIN: USE [purpose] in HOT [very warm] RAIN [weather] – another hilarious surface
16  GO-GETTER: GOG [giant] +  [l]ETTER [character]
18  OVERSEAS: O[ld] VERSE [poem] + AS [like]
19  ANTIOCH: anagram of TO CHINA
21  LAVISH: LAV-ISH: more Pauline schoolboy humour!
22 BAGNIO: hidden reversal of [g]OINGAB[out]: none of my dictionaries specifies this as an ‘old’ word for a brothel – or a place for old prostitutes!
24  COCK: C[l]OCK: ‘item with hands’!

41 Responses to “Guardian 24,997 / Paul”

  1. molonglo says:

    Thanks Eileen. An excellent puzzle, plain sailing until pretty choppy waters in the southeast. I didn’t like 22a’s bet=imagine and basket=box much but the surface reading was very Paul. The rest in that corner were ahas and the best was 17a. Good clueing everywhere including the clever hidden ones (23a and 22d), and unhidden 25d.

  2. SimonG says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    I enjoyed this especially 21d – must be schoolboy humour! I’d not heard of ‘stud muffin’ before but it was easy enough to guess from the wordplay and then confirm it online… rather a nice expression i feel.

  3. tupu says:

    Thanks Eileen. Much like molonglo, I didn’t like ‘basket’ 22ac. but assumed it must be. I first wanted to plump for ‘casket’ which would have been nicer if it had conformed to the clue. Then I got stuck on ‘bagnio’ (for some reason didn’t see the reversed inclusion) and found it accidentally while pursuing ‘bags’ as in ‘old bags’. The COD defines it as ‘oriental prison: brothel’ and it is, I assume, an ‘old’ and now little used word.

  4. Coffee says:

    Oh dear, two 40-something women here got STUD MUFFIN from having heard it before. Must check the origin.

  5. Ian says:

    Thanks Eileen.

    Really enjoyed this crossword. The usual quota of clever wit – the anagram indicator pants esp. – the cluing for ‘Lavish’, ‘Sal – Addressing’, and best of all ‘House Train’ which to me was a nice piece of misdirection. Like Molonglo @ #1 I had to strain hard to finish the SE corner.


  6. Eileen says:

    Hi tupu

    Dictionaries usually do specify when a word is archaic or obsolete. Interestingly, Collins has ‘1 a brothel; 2 obs. an oriental prison for slaves; 3 obs an Italian or Turkish bathhouse’ and Chambers ‘an oriental prison; a brothel; a bathing house, esp. one with hot baths [obs.].

  7. Another Andrew says:

    Thanks Eileen. I really enjoyed this one, too. I’m slightly ashamed to report that the two I didn’t get were both hidden clues. I was well and truly misdirected on both. I have to agree with all of the above mentioned highlights.

  8. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thanks Eileen. Very enjoyable today, as usual from Paul. I share Molonglo’s misgivings regarding BET=imagine and BASKET=box and am unable to connect CHAT and flier (even Google is no help), would someone mind explaining?

  9. Eileen says:

    Hi Tokyo Colin

    CHAT: [Collins]: an Old World songbird of the thrush family; any of various North American warblers; any of various Australian wrens – take your pick! :-)

  10. rrc says:

    now its 4 enjoyable crosswords in 4 days !

  11. sandra says:

    hi tokyo colin
    cannot key much just now but there are several birds in the chat group. perhaps if you google “chat bird” you may have more luck.

    am following you all, even tho i can’t participate much. will probably make up for it when post op healing complete!

  12. sandra says:

    hello eileen

    we crossed – it takes me a while! sorry.

  13. Eileen says:

    Hi again, Tokyo Colin

    When blogging, I forgot that I meant to look for examples of box = basket. I’ve just done so and can find none, so I’m not very happy with that, either.

    I’ve much less problem with bet = imagine, though. Both Collins and Chambers give opinion or guess for bet.

    Good to hear from you, Sandra – all the best for a good recovery. :-)

  14. sandra says:

    thank you eileen.

  15. Bill Taylor says:

    I’ve been down in the States for a couple of days so this was an excellent way back in. A good, witty workout. 21d was clever and 23a was a classic! I was a little unhappy with STUDMUFFIN, which is quite a common term in North America, though usually as two words, not one. And it’s generally defined as a guy who is “hot” and very attractive to women — that doesn’t necessarily connotate muscularity. A lot of women, I think (I’m not, alas, in a physical position to know!) are rather turned off by the “Muscle Beach” look. A guy I used to work with, in good shape for his age but not an exactly an Adonis, took up with a much younger woman. I heard someone remark one day: “I think she regards him as a cross between a stud muffin and a father-figure.”

  16. tupu says:

    Hi Eileen. Thanks for the other ‘bagnio’ glosses. I’m annoyed I didn’t see the answer because the clue is quite a nice one. My normal doggedness sometimes wilts on a last remaining clue.

  17. Tom Hutton says:

    I agree with Bill Taylor. Stud muffin is wrong. Muscle builders are much more interested in themselves than anyone else. I have more difficulty with bet as imagine than Eileen does. It might just do but it’s awkward. I think that pants as an anagram indicator is, to use a word, pants. The use of bet was compounded by using basket as box which made for a very dubious clue although solvable by crossing letters. Perhaps I could describe the clue as lavish.

  18. Tokyo Colin says:

    Thank you Eileen and sandra. I knew had a “duh” moment coming. A bird, of course. I had a head full of potatoes, pilots and leaflets and missed the obvious.

  19. Eileen says:

    And thank you, Tokyo Colin, for the reminder about the potato, which I’d forgotten. I learned it from a crossword but I think I’ve only seen it once, whereas the bird crops up reasonably often.

  20. FumbleFingers says:

    Good job Eileen – but “none of [Paul’s] really outrageous cluing”, huh?

    I’d say LAVISH is a typical example of Paul’s toilet humour (definitely not suitable for my gran if she were still alive). Even though it was a new one on me, STUDMUFFIN seems at least somewhat risque. And my nose still hasn’t unwrinkled from 5d’s “sweatier pants”…

    Like a good stand-up comic, Paul often makes me squirm, but I love it really!

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems a bit parochial that we should recognise Rusbridger for 7d.

  21. liz says:

    Thanks for the blog, Eileen. I really enjoyed this for the reasons everyone has already given. My favourite was 23ac! Didn’t much like BASKET, however, less for the wordplay, more for the def. Had to cheat to get 25ac — that comma nicely mislead me!

  22. beermagnet says:

    I’d’ve thought from the risque clues point of view in this grid 22A takes the prize.

  23. jmac says:

    Hi Eileen,

    Thanks for the blog.

    Roget’s Thesaurus on-line gives “box” as a synonym of “basket”, and gives both “basket” and “box” as synonyms of both “case” and “bin”.

  24. Eileen says:

    Hi FumbleFingers

    I meant ‘outrageous’ to apply to the libertarian liberties Paul often takes with his cluing, rather than risqué content. I did say that this puzzle was a good example of his cheeky wit!

    As far as ‘parochialism’ is concerned, as one who buys and reads the paper, I can see absolutely nothing wrong in a Guardian puzzle referring to the Guardian editor by name!

    Thanks for that, jmac – one place I didn’t look.

  25. Neil says:

    I bet you’re having trouble with “imagine”.

    I imagine you’re having trouble with “bet”.

  26. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Neil. That’s just how I read it. [I still don’t like box = basket, though, despite Roget!]

  27. Ian in TX says:

    I’m with beermagnet @ 22 on the risque factor re 22a; I think in pursuit of a little tittilation (alliteratively speaking) the surface won out over the construction.
    I finished all except the 22’s whilst sat at Starbucks with no recourse to reference materials and was disappointed not to complete it. Nevertheless Paul is my favourite compiler!

  28. FumbleFingers says:

    Eileen @24
    I’ve never really noticed Paul tending to “bend the rules” with his clueing. But that only bothers me with lesser compilers anyway – where I might suspect they don’t even know what they’re doing!

    For me, Paul sits with Brendan on the very next rung down from
    Auracaria himself (blessed be his name). These are the guys who shape the rules for the next generation, and I’d be very diffident about criticising anything they do.

    Having said that – amusing as it may be, I can’t help feeling Paul’s smuttiness ought to debar him from inheriting the crown when Auracaria finally hangs up his quill. There – I’ve said it – I am a prude at heart!

  29. Eileen says:

    Hi FumbleFingers

    It depends what you mean by ‘rules’! Paul is a libertarian and a self-confessed disciple of Araucaria and tends to take similar liberties [with added smuttiness!]. I agree with you absolutely that you need to know the rules before you can successfully bend them. I would maintain that both these setters know exactly what they’re doing but I think you’ve been contributing long enough to this site to know that nothing divides setters more than this. [Commenters seem to be more polarised re Araucaria than Paul and some think he gets away with things that other setters wouldn’t – and, in my case, I admit that’s probably true: I’ve been a fan of his for about 40 years!]

    I agree, essentially, with your hierarchy of setters – but my penultimate rung is, perhaps, a little more crowded than yours! :-)

  30. Richard says:

    I enjoyed this. Some great clues. Pity about BAGNIO and STUD MUFFIN, though.

  31. Neil says:

    Eileen @ 26. Thanks for ‘thanks’.

    I found it hard not to write in ‘Casket’ even though I couldn’t possibly reconcile ‘CET’ with ‘IMAGINE’. But when ‘BAGNIO’ arrived , it just had to be ‘BASKET’. I wasn’t happy with that until remembering two or three recent ‘green’ funerals where the coffins were fashioned in woven willow. Then recalling from our 25 years living in Marlow (or ‘Mawloo Ectewlly’ as my fellow Devonians would scathingly have it now that I live back amongst them) picnicking from hampers by the Thames. So it’s only a small stretch to accept a woven box as a basket. Versions are all around us. Still don’t like it, but it has to be acceptable. Don’cha think?

  32. Daniel Miller says:

    Really enjoyed today’s. Missed out on Aerosol – obviously should have found some word for spray – just wasn’t forthcoming. Some nice surfaces to other clues.

  33. Daniel Miller says:

    I agree a number of rules seem to be bent but once you can accept that Bet can (just about) relate to imagine in the sense of “I guess it’s possible.. I bet it could happen.. I imagine so” then it just about goes. To lay the answer on a plate for us would be too simple, too easy. Many of the clues took me quite some time to solve

    (Everything was hidden away yet I’m looking for some obscure polysaturate!!)
    (Kennedy – took me a long time to wake up to this one)
    (o-verse-as – yes I see it but what on earth is an ‘overs-e-as’!!!)

    and so on. Tremendously satisfying to finally crack this one (bar the Aer-o-sol) – Paul made this one quite tough – made me think long and hard – definitely the best of the week, so far.

  34. William says:

    Thank you, Eileen, for your excellent blog. Just to add my twopennyworth belatedly, I chanced on this: A bagnio, in reference to a brothel or boarding house, is also mentioned in The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg as the location of a quarrel between two young Edinburgh nobleman that precedes one of them being murdered and the other arrested for the crime.

  35. Frances says:

    4d. Please could someone explain why the ‘DEN’ in Kennedy is reversed 4d.


  36. Eileen says:

    Hi Frances

    ‘Standing’ [‘getting up’] is a fairly common reversal indicator in down clues.

  37. Frances says:

    Thanks, Eileen, I do appreciate you still replying to us slowcoaches.
    Now to start Araucaria!

  38. InGrid says:

    “FANATICISM: anagram of MANIAC FITS: I’m not sure what ‘within such’ is doing.”

    Within such = fanaticism… the madness of maniac fits.

    Yes? No?

  39. Eileen says:

    Thanks InGrid. I see what you mean – maniac [noun] + fits [verb]

    I had read it as ‘maniac [adjective] fits [noun]’ and ‘within such’ as therefore superfluous.

    [It looks different a day later!]

  40. Martin H says:

    Started this at the beginning of a transatlantic flight yesterday, and after very entertaining hour was left with 22d refusing to fall – partly because BASKET seemed wrong, for all the reasons others have given above. I still don’t like it. Having put it aside for a few hours, I got it just before landing. A very nice puzzle, one of the best aspects the brilliant way Paul disguises the route to the solution (as with BAGNIO). EVERYTHING was staring me in the face, and I went all round the houses before I saw it. (Would have kicked myself if I’d had the legroom.)

  41. Huw Powell says:

    I didn’t get the 22s, or 6d, although I had a good handles on it (B – LACKS – “something”)

    Seeing the soolution, I am happy with all three parts of BASKET though. I just never switched my brain to the right meaning of pose.

    Compare, say, in-box to in-basket. The picnic basket example above is good too.

    I had to google Rusbridger, but I think that’s fair not living in Airstrip One.

    Cheers all, and thanks for the blog Eileen!

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